Back in June (was it really that long ago?) I wrote a post titled How To Get Free Books To Review On Your Blog. A friend asked me last night how I got started reviewing books. After leaving four lengthy comments on the Facebook post, I decided a new blog post might be in order.
Where to get the books
I started with publisher programs, Blogging for Books and Booksneeze. You can read more about them in the first post and on the respective websites. Both programs now have both ebooks and phsical books.
Then I started winning physical books in the Goodreads First Reads Giveaways. I joined a few Goodreads groups and saw a few authors who were looking for people to review their books. It wasn’t long before I had so many books from various sources that I no longer had time to participate in the groups and my activity on GR pretty much dropped to nothing, aside from posting my reviews. I had already discovered the best way to get review books, though. From the authors themselves.
Eventually, I decided that if I was going to get more traffic for my blog, I needed to be active on Twitter. I’ve written more about that elsewhere, but Twitter specifically led me to my biggest source of books: author communities.
The Indie Exchange sprouted from Adopt An Indie Month, and is now a full-time, active blog, website, Facebook group, and Goodreads group. I had so much fun during Adopt An Indie Month (contributing one guest post and four book reviews) that I jumped right in when Donna started The Indie Exchange. There are currently 87 books available for review through The Indie Exchange. As far as I know, all of these books are ebooks.
World Literary Cafe is another great group of authors (some of the same authors, actually; many authors are part of several communities). There are currently 19 books available for review through WLC. You’ll need to register first, then you’ll receive instructions on how to request your book. These are also ebooks.
Authors.com has been another great place to meet authors. As you can tell from the name, it’s mostly for authors, but it’s for readers, too. I’ve gotten ebooks and physical books from the authors here. It’s cheaper for an author to be able to send an email with an ebook than to pay for both the book and shipping, so I don’t have a problem with getting ebooks, but it’s something to consider when you’re working with individual authors.
I’ve also had many authors approach me through Twitter. I’ve changed my Twitter profile a couple times, but it always says something about blogging about books. Just in case all the tweets of my reviews weren’t obvious enough.
I’ve also had authors find me through my Amazon reviewer profile. I have my blog address on my profile so I’m not just floating out there in Amazon-land.
When you start posting reviews, if you’re showing up in search engines, authors, publicists, and others in the literary community will find you and you’ll start getting requests that way. And believe me, once you get started, you’ll never run out of books. Every reviewer I know has a backlog of books. We won’t talk about how long mine is.
What to do next
Don’t feel like you have to accept every book. No reviewer does. Start with genres you know you like. Pretty soon you’ll want to decide which genres you’ll review, and your personal policies on things like whether you’ll post negative reviews (many reviewers don’t), whether you’ll only accept physical books or only ebooks or both, and oodles of other things that don’t occur to you until they crop up. You can check out my Review Policy for some ideas of the types of things that will come up. Most book blogs will have a review policy posted, and every one is different, so go Googling and check out a few before you write your own.